Sexuality throughout all the stages of pregnancy: Experiences of expectant mothers
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Del Mar López-Rodríguez M.
Objective: To explore and understand the sexual experiences of expectant mothers during their pregnancy. Methods: The study was carried out in two healthcare centers in the Almería Health District, in southern Spain. The participants included pregnant women who received prenatal care and/or maternity education. The inclusion criteria were being pregnant, maintaining sexual activity and agreeing to participate in the study. The exclusion criteria were having limitations on sexual activity by medical prescription. The sample consisted of 15 expectant women selected using a convenience sample, of which 5 took part in a focus group (FG) and 10 in in-depth interviews (IDI). Data was collected between the months of June and December 2016. Participants were contacted by the main researcher and an appointment was made to carry out the FGs or the IDIs. Results: Three main categories emerged: False beliefs and a holistic approach to sexuality during pregnancy, which is related to the concept of sexuality, false beliefs, and limited sexual counseling during pregnancy. Limitations: From fear at the beginning to physical difficulty at the end, referring to the fluctuations in sexual desire as well as the physical changes that limit sexual activity. Adapting to changes: safe practices and satisfaction with one’s body image, which encompasses concerns about the risks and the relationship between body image and self-esteem. Conclusion: A lack of sexual counseling during pregnancy leads to the creation of false beliefs, which, together with physical changes, concerns about the risk, and fluctuations in sexual desire and interest, bring about a decrease in sexual activity. But sexuality remains an important aspect of pregnancy, toward which the participants must adopt a broader approach, not limited to intercourse, and adopt sexual practices that are adapted to the physical and emotional changes that happen during this time. © 2018 Departamento de Enfermagem/Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo. All rights reserved.
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